pay attention to the registration plates...S-CL 8495 is of Stuttgart origin. note the pressed steel wheels.
I'd like to be idealistic about the whole thing, but I can't...it'd be a bit silly and naive. if the condition of Jim Doerr's
pre-production 928 Nº 1 and Nº 6 are any indication of what one is to expect from such historically important cars, then there's little hope for what's considered one of the most unloved, mistreated, and loathed (by asshole purists) Porsches of all time—the 924.
928 Nº 1 wasn't in horrible shape, neither was Nº 6. Nº 1 was purchased from an owner who had it for 27 years as a third/fourth car 10 of which were spent outside, under a cover without being touched. Nº 6 was salvaged from a seller on Ebay who knew a bit about the car's provenance; remarkably, it was given some care during its long life. short of the 930, these were the most expensive Porsches of their day which means those who've owned them had the means to maintain them properly for a good portion of their lives.
but could the fate of a few entry level Porsches prove as kind?
Nº 1 in her prime. Photo courtesy of Sports Car Quarterly, 1977
Nº 1 when my long lost brother Jim Doerr found her.
Nº 6, the darling of the press as she was then...
and Nº 6 as she is today.
between 1973 and 1974, eight pre-production prototype 924s were put together for testing purposes. they didn't look like the final version we're familiar with, instead they possessed Lagaay's bulbous, ass-heavy Italianate design resembling a 924 with an allergic reaction distinguished by the vents on the rear fenders just under the framed glass hatch.
at least one (in silver I think) was crashed, a red one is in the Porsche museum; that's two so far. there are six left; there are four in the image below but I've yet to see any images of the remaining two. nevertheless, these sacrificial pre-production 924s deserve their own story...let's discuss the six final prototypes.
four of the eight pre-production 924s.
right. consider this a thinking aloud journal, a tabulation of sorts. what I'm putting out here is a pictorial record of the 924s, both press cars and production prototypes, I'm in search of. although the images I'm using here are all press shots, my hunch is that the six production prototypes might have also used for press purposes, shows, and the like. what I'm getting at is that the press cars and final production prototypes may be one and the same in some cases.
the problem is that shots of these final production prototypes are hard to come by; finding pictorial evidence of all six might be nearly impossible without the help of the archivists in Stuttgart. so far, I've only been able to find two; one, possibly Rallyegelb or Diamantsilbermetallic, donning Stuttgart registration plate S-04844, and the other in what looks to be Vipergrünmetallic plate number S-04637. the photographs I've seen of them are in black and white, which is why I'm uncertain of the color; they also are devoid of badges meaning no Porsche crests or make/model badges anywhere on the two cars. my searches have been fruitless so far, the only evidence I have of their existence are in the form of books; I need some help.
the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 1975 had a tagline of "live better with the automobile." it reeked of a coy attempt by the automobile industry as a whole to wipe away the mud that the environmentalists and supporting politicians slung blaming cars as the cause of all the world's problems and the primary reason of why the oil crisis was a serious threat to global welfare...the future of cars as they were known looked rather fucked.
now, it seemed downright brazen for Porsche to launch its new 911 Turbo Carrera in the face of such hostilities, but they weren't alone; Jaguar launched the XJ-S, and Mercedes yelled out what was probably the loudest fuck you by introducing their thirsty 450SEL 6,9 pig. the 928 was still in development but the press was clawing over themselves to get a peek at what Zuffenhausen was producing as rumors persisted that this 5 liter V8 Grand Tourer was to replace the Elfer. the timing was off on so many levels that year; introducing the 924 in such a theater would guarantee the failure of the press to get an erection at Porsche's newest entry level car...so they settled for its introduction a few months later at the La Grande-Motte resort in Carmague, South of France.
S-CL 8495 in a press shot
S-CL 8495 as seen in a brochure.
S-CL 8495 as seen in a brochure shot with some human props; what the hell they find so goddamn funny is beyond me.
here she is again in what is another brochure shot
asserting herself in the company of the Elfer and some rich folk who'll no doubt silently sneer at the owner and his inability to afford what they deem as a 'real Porsche.' this may very well be another prototype judging by the aluminum wheels, but it's uncertain.
clearly donning the same registration tag bearing the letter/number combination of S-CL 8495; but again, because of the aluminum wheels, it's uncertain if this is the same car that was wearing the pressed steel wheels initially.
so far there's the G2G2 Marsrot 924 with the pressed steel wheels that wore the Stuttgart registration tag S-CL 8495. this one was used in brochures and a few press shots but it isn't clear whether it swapped out the pressed steel wheels for the aluminum ones or if it's a different chassis altogether. the registration plate can't be used as an indicator of which car was which because that same tag was also used on the 7D7 Rallyegelb car I'll discuss in the next paragraph.
this 7D7 Rallyegelb 924 was used in a press shot at the La Grande-Motte resort where '24 was launched.
this 924 is of interest because it has the same registration plate as the one found on the red one. it could have very well been retired for brochure work and the like where a "924" plate may have been swapped in its place.
the registration tag on this Rallyegelb 924 reads S-CM 8033; maybe this was the pressed steel wheel version below?
this 924 with pressed steel wheels wears a plate from Stuttgart that reads S-CM 3684
so here's what may be the case. it's possible that two Marsrot 924s, one with steel pressed wheels and the other with aluminum existed; same with the Rallyegelb one. the fact that all three cars took turns wearing the same S-CL 8495 registration plate tells me that it may not have been one red 924 wearing different wheels since the yellow 924 also used it. then we see another Rallyegelb 924 wearing a completely different plate that reads S-CM 8033; this one could be the '24 with pressed steel wheels we see in the brochure.
it looks like we have four press cars accounted for, or at the very least two.
the fifth, and this is strictly my numerical order and not one based off their serial number, wears a rare shade of Y5Y5 Vipergrün-metallic, known to English speakers as Peppermint Ice Metallic used in 1977. this 924 wears an S-CM 3685 as seen below doing a bit of brochure work. notice the registration plate on the yellow car in the ad next to the 911; S-CM 3684...it may have been registered right before the green one since its last four digits are 3685.
then we see another 924, the sixth one, in a different shade of green, N2N2 Signalgrün, this time with pressed steel wheels in a magazine ad with a registration plate from Ludwigsburg, a city in the Baden-Württemberg 12km north of Stuttgart and 44km south of Neckarsulm that reads LB-MT 990.
this Vipergrün-metallic 924 (top and bottom) wears aluminum wheels and a Stuttgart registration tag that reads S-CM 3685.
Signalgrün 924 with pressed steel wheels bearing a Ludwigburg plate. LB-MT 990
the deviant 924 wearing Z4Z4 diamantsilbermetallic (diamond silver metallic) and yet another registration plate numbered S-CR 8803
here's what looks to be W7W7 Atlanticmetallic, a 1976 color, with Stuttgart registration plate S-CP 5205.
the silver and blue 924s pose a problem; where does the cutoff line for the earliest of press cars end? this ad may still be from around 1976 to 1977; the 930 Turbo Carrera, the 911 Targa and Coupé, and what may be a 912E Coupé point to the 1976 model year, but hell...I can't be sure without a closer look.
we also see that it has a different Stuttgart registration plate than all of the others, S-CR 8803. same with the blue one, the only clue here is the W7W7 Atlanticbluemetallic shade that was offered in 1976, of course there are exceptions. one clue that this car definitely falls between 1976 and 1978 are the chrome door handles as they were discontinued in model year 1979 when they went to black.
so if these ads and brochures were done around the same time, then we have a potential total of eight press cars that I've just come up with; the focus being strictly on the European market and trying to stay between 1976-1978. my chances of finding any one of them today? well, I'm optimistic. I know someone somewhere on this globe has or knows of where I can find some of them.
the odds may be slightly stacked against me since these were entry level Porsches that became of little value to collectors and enthusiast alike; there's a good chance that they may have been reincarnated into a Honda Accord or a beer can. I'm hoping they're lying in a field, a garden shed, or, hell...maybe soldiering on piling on the miles, the kilometers.
one way or another, I'll find them.
could this be one of the press cars that wore the S-CL 8495 plate?